Occupation: Grad Student and Sales Engineer
Location: Walnut Creek
Favorite Restaurant: Caffe La Scala
Reviewed Caffe La Scala: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
It’s important to go into this dining experience with the right expectations. This is not a place to go for a nice lunch or dinner. This place is special… less for the food and more for the experience and the people. This place brings people together as everyone here knows each other. I, myself, have made many lasting friendships, business connections, study partners, and observed others coming together in the same way. This place is like an Italian Cheers within Walnut Creek. The music, atmosphere, and staff make it a one-and-only experience you can’t find anywhere else in the area.
You feel as though you are on a corner café in Italy. The desserts are flown in from Italy and taste as if they were made that morning. The cannoli is the best I have ever had, done the traditional way with a twist of orange rind on the outside, a thick crusty shell, and a decadent sweet inside filled with chocolate chips. The chai latte is smooth, nutty, a bit spicy, and just delightful. Need a little extra energy? Ask for it dirty and they will throw a shot of espresso in it for you. You can also sample the affogato: two scoops of gelato slathered with chocolate sauce and espresso then covered with whipped cream. This is the best place for a blind date or first date, or any business conversation. They have ample outdoor seating with fountains, and tons of tables inside.
On top of that, you have unlimited power outlets, free wireless internet, and they are open late so you can study as long as you want without the pressure of getting kicked out. The place is often filled with the aroma of whatever the cook is making that day. My favorite is the unbelievably delicious mushroom soup. It’s not creamy as one would expect, yet it reminds me of my dad’s homemade beef stroganoff. It’s so savory and rich and full of flavor, every bite leads to wanting more. It’s rustic, and you can taste the love it’s made with. I also love the chicken Caesar salad. The chicken is fresh and grilled to perfection with crispy charred edges giving a little bit of extra crunch. The dressing is not too tangy and cool and refreshing. The lettuce is always crisp, and they top it with plenty of crunchy croutons along with fresh delicious French bread slathered in butter.
I have been coming here for 11 years now, because it offers you the reliability of knowing you will always run into a friend, everyone is there for the same reason, and we motivate each other through the good times and the bad. The servers will remember your favorites and treat you with kindness, and they even clean up after you. There is parking all over, and you never have to worry about finding a power outlet.
Occupation: Legal Administrator
Favorite Restaurant: 1300 on Fillmore
Reviewed Caffe La Scala: Sunday, May 6, 2012
I live close to and have seen the Caffe La Scala for many years but never eaten there until this trip. We decided to go for lunch even though we were surprised to see they stayed open until midnight every night. When we walked in, there were about 8 people in a small room that held about 20 tables with another 10 or so in the shared courtyard of an office building. We walked up to the counter where we ordered from a large blackboard menu above the register and deli case. It was our first visit so we needed a few minutes to study the menu. The menu was simple, so it did not take long, and the two ladies behind the counter were nice and respected the time we needed. We were a little disappointed after we ordered that there was a second blackboard menu that had some specials on it that the ladies did not point out to us. I ordered an Italian sausage pizza that had roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. They were nice enough to hold the olives for me. My wife had the Pizza Tosca, which came with artichokes and prosciutto. The place seamed like a deli, so we were surprised and delighted that they served beer and wine. We both ordered a glass of Prosecco. I also ordered a glass of orange juice so I could make a mimosa.
We sat ourselves at a table in the corner, the table had a bunch of crumbs on it, and my wife cleaned it off with a napkin. There were many people sitting in the restaurant with laptops and they looked like they were studying. It was a nice quiet place that had a wifi connection and I wished I had brought my iPad. The pizzas came in short order and while they were tasty there was nothing special about them. The red peppers on my pizza were good and a little sweet and made for a good flavor on the pizza. I went back to the counter and ordered an apple tart and my wife got two scoops of gelato. They warmed up the apple tart for me and the crust was light and flaky. The best thing about the meal was the gelato. I had a taste of the hazelnut gelato, and it was very good.
We were not impressed with Caffe La Scala. While I am a food snob, I went into Caffe La Scala with the mind set of this is a deli or coffee shop and tried to judge it in that vain, but it did not stand out in anyway with the exception of the gelato. I would not cross town to get the gelato since there is no convenient parking. If I worked in the area and wanted a nice low cost lunch that was better than fast food, I might go to Caffe La Scala but I can't imagine I would go back for any other reason.
Occupation: Immigration Attorney
Favorite Restaurant: Lers Ros
Reviewed Caffe La Scala: Sunday, May 13, 2012
It was surprisingly good for café fare. I had the chicken panini, which was very tasty. It was grilled perfectly, and the chicken was moist. The spinach salad was good -- it was not overdressed and the portions are very filling.
This café stands out for me, because of its great atmosphere and crowd. It is a very interesting space and represents a great, independent local hangout spot. Prices are reasonable and the staff is friendly.